Difference Between Cannabis and Alcohol


No doubt, a you are not new to the word Alcohol. Perhaps one of the most frequently used words globally. However, in terms Cannabis is not exactly common. So when you think o the difference between Cannabis and Alcohol you are most likely thinking of their effect on the body. In this article we will take an in-depth look into these two. Let’s start by discussing about Cannabis.

What Is Cannabis?

Cannabis is the name given to marijuana which is a chemical substance extracted from leaves and buds of the plant of the same genus, Cannabis.

cannabis plants


The cannabis drug is extracted from the Cannabis plants that are grown either outdoors or inside. The most important species of cannabis plants used to extract the cannabinoids and make cannabis are Cannabis sativa, C. indica, and C. ruderalis.


Cannabis plants contain chemical substances known as cannabinoids, which are secondary metabolites produced by the plant. The main two cannabinoids of interest to people are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol); the two main chemicals found in marijuana.

Effects on the brain:

The cannabinoid chemicals found in cannabis bind to various receptors in the brain, causing changes in how the brain works. The THC binds to both the CB1 and CB2 receptors on nerve cells in the brain while the CBD binds to the 5-HT1a receptor of nerve cells. The THC chemical found in cannabis does have a psychoactive impact on the brain and it in fact causes the “high” associated with smoking marijuana, and it can cause people to feel paranoid or to hallucinate. The CBD seems to have an anti-convulsant effect on the brain.


The CBD in cannabis does seem to help reduce seizure activity in children who have severe seizure disorders such as Dravet syndrome. This chemical, CBD or cannabidiol also has useful antispasmodic properties.

What is Alcohol?

Alcohol is a chemical substance that is comprised of at least one hydroxyl group which is bonded to an alkyl group. This bond is formed at the carbon atom of the alkyl group. A small percentage of the alcohol, ethanol, is also used to make alcoholic beverages which people drink.

alcohol drinks


Alcohols can be made in the laboratory through artificial means, but the type of alcohol known as ethanol is formed naturally by organisms such as plants and yeasts, that are undergoing fermentation reactions. Synthetically, alcohols can be formed by reduction reactions involving carbonyl groups and hydrogen atoms.


Alcoholic substances are liquids which have no color and a smell that can be described as like a fruit. There are different types of alcohols, each with their own properties, but they do all have a greater boiling point than alkane molecules.

Effects on the brain:

When alcohol is consumed the chemical passes through the blood-brain barrier and binds to receptors on the nerve cells. The ethanol adversely affects short-term memory because it influences the hippocampus region of the brain. The molecules of alcohol actually bind to GABA receptors and glutamate receptors. Alcohol influences mood because it impacts the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, causing feelings of relaxation and pleasure. The cumulative effect of alcohol in the brain is that it can cause intoxication symptoms depending on how much and how quickly alcohol is consumed.


The many different types of alcohol are used in industry for various applications, for instance, methanol is used in the formation of fuels and as part of antifreeze substances. The ethanol is used to make up alcoholic beverages which people drink for relaxation and in social settings.


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